AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Acquired means you can catch it; Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases. Finally, Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up the disease. AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If a person gets infected with HIV, the body will try to fight the infection. It will make “antibodies” , special molecules that are supposed to fight HIV. If blood tests show that there are antibodies in the blood, it will mean that the person is infected with the HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are called “HIV- Positive”.
Being HIV- positive, or having the HIV disease, is not the same as having AIDS. Many people are HIV- positive but do not get sick for many years. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don’t cause any problems can make people very sick if their immune system is damaged. These are called “opportunistic infections”. In this essay I will examine the spread and effects of HIV/AIDS through the following case studies, Africa, China.
AIDS is transmitted by the following ways; by blood, semen, and breast milk of people infected with HIV has enough of the virus in it to infect other people. People can get HIV from anyone who is infected. Most people get the HIV virus by: Having sex with an infected person, Sharing a needle with someone who is infected, Being born when the mother is infected, or drinking the breast milk of an infected woman. Also by injected blood transfusions.
There is no cure for AIDS. However, there are drugs that can slow down the HIV virus, and slow down the damage the immune system. Though, there is no way to get all the HIV out of the body. There are other drugs that the person can take to prevent or to treat some of the opportunistic infections (OIs). In most cases, these drugs work very well. The newer, stronger anti – HIV drugs have also helped reduce the rates of most OIs. A few OIs, however, are still very difficult to treat. As the figure is showing that the worst parts of the world that are affected by the epidemic. The worst parts of the world that have been affected by this awful disease. The majority of the world that suffers from the disorder.
Places Most Affected: North America, Canada, South America [ Brazil Region ] and regions in Africa. Mainland Europe is affected as well [ Germany, France, Belgium etc]. The US had 26, 102 cases of full- blown AIDS in September 1986 [76 in 1980], Canada had 638 cases [July 1986], New Zealand 19 cases [ July 1986 ], Britain 610 cases [ December 1986], Australia 313 cases [October 1986]. The rate of spread of the epidemic varies from one country to another.
As the figure suggests that the rate is very high in 4 major developed countries. The USA has increased rapidly over 4 years [ Sep 82 578 cases – Sep 86 26, 102 cases]. The UK had an impetuous increase [ Sep 82 24 cases – Sep 86 512 cases]. Canada had a breakneck increase as well over a 4 year period [ Dec 82 31 cases – Dec 86 755 cases]. Australia was a country with a immense increase because there were no cases in Dec 82 however, 364 cases 4 years later.
AIDS has effected Africa quite a major effect. Africa continues to dwarf the rest of the world in how the region has been affected by AIDS. Africa is home to 70% of the adults and 80% of the children living with HIV in the world. The estimated number of newly infected adults and children in Africa reached 3.4 million at the end of 2001. The overall incidence of HIV infection in Africa does however now appear to be stabilising. [The ration of men and women with HIV/AIDS in the sub Saharan Africa is in the region of 1:15] National HIV prevalence varies widely between countries. They range from under 2% of the adult population in some Western African countries to around 20% or more in the southern part of the continent, with countries in central and East Africa have rates midway between these.
West Africa is relatively less affected by HIV infection, but the prevalence rates in some large countries are creeping up. Sub Saharan Africa is viewed as the main high prevalence area, wit the expected sufferers being lorry drivers, prostitutes and soldiers for all the obvious reasons, but the complexes of the situation are enormous. It appears to be higher in East than West Africa. [ 20% in Kenya, falling to 5% or less as you head west to Nigeria, then down to 2% in Gambia]. The distribution within these communities also varies. In East Africa [ Kenya and Uganda] the middle classes and university students in particular are at high risk, whereas in Nigeria the disease is more rural, and associated with poverty.
The figure is showing a comparison of AIDS data for three sub Saharan African countries. Figure 4 is showing the AIDS belt in the African region. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most serious problems facing sub Saharan Africa. The countries within the AIDS Belt have only 3% of the world’s population but 55% of global HIV/AIDS cases. Tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections are increasingly linked to HIV. Moreover, HIV/AIDS has significantly reduced life expectancy and has become one of the main causes of infant mortality. Furthermore, all these factors tend to worsen poverty and increase inequalities in countries that are already at the lower end of the development scale.